Dianne Edmondson, County Commissioner
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There have been several changes to the process to obtain an absentee ballot. Many of us here in Robson Ranch like to vote by mail, and this year there are some changes to that process, including the request form itself, so I want to be sure that you are aware of them. Right now, there is an illegal absentee ballot request form being sent by a campaign to some here in Robson Ranch. If you use the illegal request form, it will be rejected, and there may not be time to resend a correct request form. Denton County Elections Administrator Frank Phillips reports that about 25% of the requests being turned in currently are not using the new correct request form, and so they must be rejected.
Who Can Vote by Mail?
To be eligible to vote by mail, you must be at least 65 years of age, disabled as defined by state law, confined to a jail but not convicted of a felony, out of the county during early and election day timeframes, or scheduled to deliver a baby within three weeks before or after the election.
You must request an absentee mail ballot by mail, and the form that was recently mailed to Robson residents by a campaign is an illegal form and will not be accepted to send you a mail ballot.
The main reason for rejection of the mail ballot requests is that the new form asks for either your driver’s license number or the last four digits of your social security number, which is then checked against the information you provided when you first registered to vote. If those two numbers don’t match, the request is denied. Many of us registered to vote years ago, and we may not recall which ID number was used. So, Mr. Phillips suggests that you provide both numbers on the current form, even though it only asks for either/or.
What Are the Deadlines for Ballot by Mail?
The new form is different from the previous form, and so if you have used one from an earlier election, you will need to request using the new form. Go to this website to get the right form: www.votedenton.gov/early-voting-by-mail-absentee. You must request that ballot by mail by Feb. 18, and the completed ballot must be returned by 5 p.m. on Election Day.
If, however, you decide to vote in person after receiving your ballot by mail, you must surrender that ballot to the Election Judge before you will be allowed to vote in person. This is a safeguard against the voter fraud of double voting.
You also may want to consider curbside voting, which allows you to stay in your car just outside the voting location, and the Election Judge will have a ballot brought out to you in a privacy envelope.
Where to Vote?
We are so fortunate here in Robson Ranch to have our voting site right here in our clubhouse, which serves as a polling site for both of our voting precincts on Election Day, Tuesday, March 1. During Early Voting, Feb. 14 through Feb. 25, registered voters may vote at any of the 36 Early Voting sites in the county, including here at our clubhouse.
There likely will be “electioneering” at many of our polling sites. This educational activity by supporters of the various candidates is allowed and regulated by state law, restricted to beyond the marked 100 feet from the entrance to a polling site. You may be offered some literature by these volunteers, or perhaps you have received some campaign material in the mail. In either case, you may take it into the voting booth with you. Just be sure to take it with you when you have voted. You are not allowed to use your cell phone in the voting site, so if you have your choices listed on your phone, it’s best to print your list before going in and take that with you.
New Voter Registration Cards
By now, you should have received your new light-blue voter registration card. It shows the various precincts/districts for your Congressional Representative (26), State Senator (12), State Representative (64), County Commissioner (4), and Justice of the Peace/Constable (4). If you have not received your card, please call the Elections Administrations at 940-349-3200. Remember, you will need a photo ID, such as driver’s license or passport, again, part of election fraud prevention.
We here at Robson Ranch have a reputation for being one of the highest voting precincts in the entire state, as more than 80% of our registered voters do turn out on Election Day. Let’s see if we can beat that percentage this cycle!